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Supreme Court allows Khadr’s military commission trial to proceed

Omar Khadr at 14

Omar Khadr at 14

SCOTUSblog reports:

The Supreme Court, without noted dissents, on Friday refused to block the start next Tuesday of a war crimes trial of a young Canadian detainee at Guantanamo Bay — Omar Khadr.  The brief order, noting that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., had submitted the issue to the full Court, gave no explanation [for the refusal];.  Because Justice-designate Elena Kagan has not yet taken the oath of office, she would not have taken part in Friday’s action.  (She will become a Justice tomorrow afternoon.)

After the D.C. Circuit Court on Wednesday turned down all of Khadr’s pleas to delay the start of his trial before a military commission, his lawyers submitted a new application (10A155), seeking to postpone the trial for two weeks so that the counsel could prepare a petition for the Justices to review the Circuit Court’s orders.   (Khadr’s counsel has dismissed an earlier plea to the Supreme Court to order the Circuit Court to act — docket 10-5691).  Friday’s order does not bar his lawyers from filing a petition, but the trial will go forward despite his arguments that the commission system as changed by Congress last year is unconstitutional.

The Court’s Order can be found here.

Omar Khadr, it will be recalled, was 15 years of age when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.